NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS MOVED AND IS NOW CALLED VIRTUS
Friendly, attentive service in a restaurant can make an evening sparkle even if the food is less than outstanding. At Le Clandé the other night, we were spoiled on both counts: the service, provided by the chefs themselves, Chiho Kanzaki and Marcelo Di Giacomo, was totally adorable, and the food was great. The setting was also a delight, with its original chipboard paneling and variety of cool, mismatched chairs and hanging lamps.
In the evening, Le Clandé (originally a pop-up restaurant called Clandestino) offers only a tasting menu with no choices (exceptions made for food allergies and aversions, of course) for €55.50, with two small (but rather generous for this formula) dishes for each course.
To whet the appetite, we were given two tasty amuse-bouches: crispy carbonized vegetable chips dotted with cream, followed by a dish of beets of many colors with a light, creamy goat cheese.
Then the starters arrived, beginning with a fresh and refreshing mullet tartare with an avocado sauce and mixed greens. That was followed by what was for me the highlight of the meal: a slow-cooked egg with lentils and cream, spectacularly unspectacular and wonderfully comforting. It was so perfectly balanced that I thought the little cubes of chorizo added for extra flavor were totally superfluous. My friend Mary, who looked at the dish warily when it arrived because she is squeamish about undercooked eggs (it wasn’t) was completely won over.
The next dish, pollock with a green sauce, was also perfectly cooked. It was followed by flavorful beef cheeks with polenta in a black sesame seed sauce.
The first dessert, passion fruit with yogurt sorbet and coconut, was sublime, but there was a problem with the second dessert, billed as crunchy chocolate with reine-des-prés (meadowsweet) ice cream. What seemed to be dried pieces of brownie had a very strange and unappealing flavor. That was the only fault in our meal, however. Mary found it inedible and dropped her personal rating of the restaurant from 10 out of 10 to 9.5. Not bad!
For the food alone, my rating would have been more like a 7.5 – considering the price of the meal, I would have liked to see a little more creative daring in the flavor combinations – but the service gets a perfect 10!
Note: In April the name of the restaurant will change to Virtus, but everything else, including the chefs, will remain the same. Masayuki Shibuya, the former chef at Le Clandé, will take the name Le Clandé with him to a new restaurant in Montparnasse.